What are some ideal food rewards to provide a dog during training?

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Giving a dog treats during training is a part of the positive-reinforcement method of training. Using positive-reinforcement training, a dog is given praise and food in order to encourage him to continue behaving in a certain manner, whether he is following a command or accomplishing a new trick. Providing ample food rewards immediately after good behavior lets the dog know that he has done something good, and that he should keep doing that.

Dogs are fairly simple, and many find it hard to follow human commands that may seem strange and unnecessary to them. Using food rewards is one of the best ways to get them to listen, as many dogs are easily motivated by food. Some ideal food rewards include small treats, a lick of canned dog food, or pieces of cut up hot dog or string cheese. Basically anything small, relatively healthy and appealing to your dog makes an ideal food reward during training.

Keep the food from being used as a bribe during training by keeping the food reward hidden while you are giving the command. Only when the dog completes the trick or follows the command should the food reward be shown and then given. This being said, use plenty of food rewards during the initial phases of training to really make sure the dog gets that he needs to complete a task or trick, and then will be given a reward. Phase out the food rewards over time until the dog does the trick without expecting or needing the food reward.

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